This was previously published on The Real Matt Daddy.
There is a moment in everyone’s life that stays with them forever. A moment that encapsulates every raw emotion, and not only makes you question, but also realize why you were put here on this earth. For me that day, that moment, was when my son was born.
As the midwife held him aloft, I was in awe and wonderment of what had just happened. It truly was the definitive moment in my life, and I knew right then I was the happiest man alive. Cutting the cord of this tiny baby that was mine to look after forever more, my hand was calm but inside I was shaking like a leaf with sheer excitement and in some respects, trepidation.
The elation quickly turned to panic and fear as he was whisked to a scary looking machine and given some oxygen. Then relief as I was told it was just to clear his lungs and that he was fine. As I held him in my arms, not five minutes old, he was looking back at me. It was a wonder I didn’t burst into tears. I’m not one for open emotion but tears did follow as I started to tell my family that I was a dad. Me, a dad: it still hadn’t really sunk in yet.
Telling my mum about my beautiful little boy was the definitive moment. After that conversation it began to dawn on me what was happening, the responsibility that I now had and how incredibly happy and lucky I was to have it. It was that day that also made me realize a lot about what kind of father I wanted to be.
You can always surmise before the arrival about the things you would like to do with your child, but until he or she actually arrives, I don’t think you truly know. That moment I knew I had this smallest of human beings to love, look after, and bring up in the best possible way. My whole perception of the type of father I wanted to be changed that day.
You see, my own father only ever gave a damn when it was sports-related. His ambition for me was to play football for Manchester United. That was what drove him as a father—pushing me and living his own life through my sporting achievements, but never paying much attention to what was really important to me. I myself joked that if I had a son he would be a great sportsman. Why wouldn’t he? He has my genes after all. That perception very quickly changed.
I now believe my role as a father is to give our little man every opportunity to reach his full potential. To encourage him to do his very best in everything that he does because that is all we will ever ask of him. Hopefully, he can look back when he is my age and be happy with what he has accomplished, and, I hope, be thankful of the love and support his mum and I gave him.
Read more in the Real Fatherhood series.
Image of father and baby courtesy of Shutterstock